Episode 5 “The King with Donkey Ears” …
Episode 5 focuses on Choi Dal Po (Lee Jong Seok) training to become a reporter and Choi In Ha (Park Shin Hye) receiving an unexpected job offer to become a reporter.
We begin with the juxtaposition of Dal Po and his older brother, Ki Jae Myeong, dealing with the confirmation their father is dead (the firefighter wrongly accused of causing the death of co-workers then fleeing the scene). Older brother Jae Myeong cries to his father at the memorial site “Now I truly am alone”. Recall he believes Dal Po and his mother committed suicide together unable to bear the shame. In contrast, Dal Po cries “Now I know I am not alone”. He realizes a family member dealt with his father’s body and the only family it could be is his older brother. Now he must find and be reunited with his older brother.
YGN TV station is a respected and trusted per the latest viewer polls. MSC TV station is not respected or trusted and the management team discusses ways to improve. Manager and top reporter Song Cha Ok, In Ha’s mother, sees a way to make a publicity splash by hiring In Ha because she has Pinocchio syndrome (cannot lie without hiccuping).
In Ha is working at a convenience store after being rejected by YGN because she has Pinocchio syndrome. Recall Dal Po revealed her secret during the YGN interview process last episode. He did this to protect her.
Let me sidestep to note two things:
1. Surprisingly In Ha is fair minded about Dal Po’s reveal that she has Pinocchio syndrome. She is envious that Dal Po got the job but not bitter. In the elevator they have a frank discussion about Dal Po’s belief that she should not be a reporter.
2. In Ha has had constant hiccups ever since she denied her feelings for Dal Po last episode. In a sweet scene she admits that she likes Dal Po. He is stunned unable to believe the woman he loves, likes him. Unfortunately, he has promised her father that he will not pursue In Ha and hides his true reaction of joy.
Cha Ok offers In Ha a job at MSC. In Ha asks if this a publicity stunt because she has Pinocchio syndrome. Cha Ok confirms that In Ha will be a “promotional doll” for the TV station. In Ha hesitates to sell out for this job.
CO: To get something you have to throw something away.
IH: What did you throw away to become a reporter?
IH: Did you regret your choice?
CO: I did regret it.
After some soul searching, In Ha takes the job at MSC but does not reveal this to her family. Inserting himself again is new reporter Beom Jo who used his connections to get a job at MSC too. One night as In Ha leaves work her promotional video airs. It announces she is a new reporter at MSC with Pinocchio syndrome and will never lie to the viewers. She is thrilled to see it. The clock is ticking on telling her family.
We end the episode with the juxtaposition of Dal Po and older brother Jae Myeong following different paths to gain retribution for their father’s unfair slander.
Jae Myeong traps the manager that lied about their father years ago in a man hole in an abandoned lot. He reveals “I am Fireman Ki Ho Sang’s son”. As the manager pleads for mercy, Jae Myeong declares he will now make it appear the manager is a murderer. As a bonus he will leave the manager in the man hole to die alone. He chillingly states “Your family will be mocked and taunted while feeling ashamed and embarrassed of your memories. Death is not the only way to experience hell”.
YGN reporter Gyo Dong (covered father’s story years ago) who recognized Dal Po from the quiz show declaration that reporters were scum, finds Dal Po alone and asks why he is now a reporter. Dal Po admits he still loathes the profession but can use it as a means to an end. He reveals “I am Fireman Ki Ho Sang’s son”. Gyo Dong is stunned and Dal Po confirms his real name is Ki Ha Myung.
* The writer, Park Hye-Ryun, made smart choices this episode:
a) Juxtaposition of grief for Dal Po and brother Jae Myeong dealing with their father’s death and belief they were not alone / alone. The choice to have their father be dead is the right one and true to father’s ethical character.
b) Juxtaposition of reveals of Dal Po and brother Jae Myeong revealing who they were and what they wanted. Chilling the icy calm of Jae Myeong to the trapped manager.
c) Competing TV stations YGN and MSC with our cub reporters partitioned and ready to compete. Dal Po and Yoo Rae (like her spunk) at YGN. In Ha and Seo Bum Jo (In Ha finally learns his name) work at MSC.
d) Terrific mislead when you think the brothers will meet but instead they go to separate locations.
* Well crafted scene of the newbie YGN reporters and the experienced reporters provided a blow-by-blow commentary of mentor Hyun Gyu’s prickly demands. He does NOT rock that headband like he thinks.
* Amusing scene when In Ha and Bum Jo overhear MSC reporters discussing their employment through connections only to learn the subjects of their cutting comments overheard.
* In Ha’s mother, Cha Ok, commands the screen. Did she show a tiny bit of humanity when she admitted she had regrets about choosing her job over In Ha?
* Sweet that each family member went out and bought medicine for Dal Po when his stomach was still queasy after observing the autopsy. Dal Po is loved.
* LOL when Dal Po physically lifted In Ha into the bathroom that was odorous due to her father. Good physical comedy between Dal Po and In Ha.
* Excellent episode for older brother Jae Myeong. His calm determination to make the manager pay and execution of that plan…a bit unnerving. Will he give up his personal ethics in the name of revenge of those responsible for the smearing of his ethical father?
* Loved when In Ha admitted to Dal Po her truth that she liked him. He was stunned but managed to hide the fact that his dream came true…but the timing was not right to reveal his truth.
* Darling that the cake Dal Po bought to mark In Ha’s birthday made it to the house after he gave it away on the bus. Interesting he was the only family member that remembered her birthday.
* I’m on board with this show. The writing is solid, initial setup is done, now the good stuff has begun.